Two of the most important pieces of organizing your Science & Engineering Fair are the Registration and Volunteer Signups. Without students registering for your Fair and volunteers to help run the show, the Fair won’t happen!
If you find creating these signups daunting, let us take the mystery out of it and give you somewhere to start:
#1: The Registration Form
Since most teachers are familiar with Google Suite, we’ll create our Registration Form using Google Forms. If you use a different form creator, feel free to use what works best for you and your school.
1. Visit forms.google.com and select a form. We will start with a Blank one, but if you have another template you like or that is pre-branded for your school, use that. If you aren’t a regular Google Forms user and would like a more detailed walk-through than found here, there are a bunch online. Try this one on for size.
2. Give your form a title. It should be clear and include both your school name and the Fair year. Just click the existing text to replace it.
Under “Form description,” provide a brief introductory paragraph that includes contact information of whoever should be emailed with questions.
Here is some sample text you can copy/paste (update as needed):
We are so excited that your child has decided to participate in the Science & Engineering Fair this year! Before you complete this registration form, PLEASE be sure to thoroughly read the 2019 Student Handbook and the supporting material. These materials outline our Science & Engineering Fair’s rules and will help your child have a fun and successful experience. If you have any questions related to the Fair or this registration form, please email our Fair’s Chairperson at email@example.com.
3. Now it’s time to add your first question. Google Forms will start you out with a multiple-choice question, but once you type your first question, that should change based on what you typed. If it doesn’t, click the arrow next to the question type and select the one you want.
Make sure to make all your questions “Required.” Once you have your first question, the fastest thing to do is press the copy icon (to the left of the trash can) to duplicate the question you already created.
4. Add more questions. In addition to duplicating questions you’ve already created, you can add new questions using the sidebar menu. Here are the questions we recommend you include in your Registration Form:
- Parent/Guardian First Name (short answer)
- Parent/Guardian Last Name (short answer)
- Parent/Guardian Email Address (short answer)
- Parent/Guardian Phone Number (short answer)
- Student First Name (short answer)
- Student Last Name (short answer)
- Student Grade Level (dropdown or multiple choice)
- Student Teacher (ideally, dropdown or multiple choice)
- Project Title (short answer)
- If this is a team project, please provide each teammate’s name, parent/guardian name, and parent/guardian email address. Please only register a team project once. (paragraph answer)
- Does this project involve the use of human participants or vertebrate animals as a part of experimentation? A human participant is anyone who you collect data on, whether you simply ask them questions or try to influence them in any way. (yes/no – REQUIRED QUESTION)
- Student Acknowledgement: (checkboxes)
- I understand the risks and possible dangers to me of the proposed research plan.
- I have read our Fair’s rules provided in the 2019 Student Handbook and will adhere to these rules when conducting research.
- I have read and will abide by the following Ethics Statement: Scientific fraud and misconduct are not condoned at any level of research or competition. Such practices include plagiarism, forgery, use or presentation of another researcher’s work as one’s own, and fabrication of data. Fraudulent projects will fail to qualify for competition in affiliated fairs and the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF).
- Parent/Guardian Approval: (checkboxes)
- I have read and understand the risks and possible dangers involved in this project. I consent to my child participating in this research.
You can add other sections, such as explanatory text – just hover over each icon and it will tell you what it does.
5. To preview your Registration Form, click the “Send” button at the top, then click the link icon. You can shorten your URL if you’re going to be emailing it, or just click Copy and then past the URL into a new browser tab/window.
Scroll through your form to make sure everything is Required (should have a red asterisk to the right of the question) and present and account for exactly the way you want it to look.
You’re ready to start registering participants! Use the short form of the URL to share in your school newsletter or communication channels, or use a vanity URL shortener such as bit.ly to make it even easier to type the address.
#2: The Volunteer Signup Form
A lot of schools have a preferred system for Volunteer signups, whether it’s Google Forms, SignUpGenius, Signup.com, or something different. For your Volunteer Signup Form, try to stick with the one your school uses the most so it will feel familiar to your volunteers.
Since we already discussed how to create a Google Form, we’ll use SignUpGenius to create our Volunteer Signup Form. The software is free and pretty intuitive to use. For a more detailed walkthrough, try this.
1. Visit signupgenius.com and either log in to your account or sign up for a free account. Once logged in, click the green “Create a Sign Up” button in the top bar.
2. Give your signup a title and list the name of your group. Again, your title should be clear and include both your school name and the Fair year.
3. Select a theme. SignUpGenius offers a number of custom themes (both free and premium) – you can use the keyword search to find one you like.
4. Once you’ve chosen a theme, a preview will populate below the theme choices. You can customize the photo in the upper left if you want to by clicking the small image button on top of the image and choosing “Customize image.”
5. Add a description to your signup by clicking the pencil next to the text under your title. Your description should be a brief introductory paragraph that includes contact information of whoever should be emailed with questions. Here is some sample text you can adapt:
The MYSCHOOL Science & Engineering Fair (MSEF) is scheduled for the full day of DAY, DATE. If you would like to volunteer for the MSEF, please sign up below.
If you have any questions, please contact the MSEF Chairperson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Anywhere you see the little award (like next to Related files), that is a premium feature.
Once you’ve entered your description, click “Save and Continue.”
6. Next you will create your signup dates/times. Use the “Signup by Date” format, then click “Add Dates” to enter the date of your Fair.
You should create all of the times you need volunteers at once (“Add Dates”) – your next step will be to add the volunteer positions you want in each time slot. Select your date, enter the start and end time for each shift, then click “Add another timeslot on this date” to add the next shift.
Once you’ve added all your shifts for the day, click “Add” to move to the next step – adding your needed jobs (Slots).
7. Click the orange “Add Slots” button to add your jobs for each time slot. You can also click the pencil next to the column heading to change it if you want it to say something other than “Available Slots.”
Type the name of your job in the “Title of Slot” field, then a brief description in the “Help Comment” field. Select the number you need for each time slot and the dates/times you need that volunteer (if you select “All dates” it will put the same job in every date/time slot you have).Here are some standard volunteer positions –edit or add to these as needed:
- Registration/Set-up Helper – Help the Set-up and Take-down Coordinator with registration, setup, and other tasks as needed.
- Judge – Judge projects for the Science & Engineering Fair
- Student Runner – Help lead individual students from their classrooms to the gym for judging, then lead them back to their classrooms
- Science or Engineering Demonstrator – Provide a brief (5-10 minute) scientific or engineering demonstration repeatedly over the course of two hours
- Take-down Helper – Help the Set-up & Take-down Coordinator with taking down the Fair or other tasks as needed
Click “Save and Add Another” until you’re done entering your jobs, then click “Save.” You can always click “Add Slots” again to add more later.
If you need to remove or edit a job, click the X or the pencil to the far right. For example, the Take-down Helper doesn’t need to be there in the morning, so we’ll remove this job from that time. Make sure you say “Remove slot from this date” instead of all instances (unless that’s what you need).
Note: If you’re creating a volunteer signup in Google Forms you’ll need to create the signup times/jobs using checkboxes or radio buttons.
8. As you go along, if you find you need to add additional dates/times, click the orange “Add Dates” button again. You can add your new date/time spot and actually assign it to one of the jobs (Slots) you’ve already created.
Your signup should look something like this when you’re done entering everything (note that there are two pages). Once everything is correct and as you want it, click “Save and Continue” to move on to the next step.
9. Next you’ll enter the demographic information you want from each volunteer. Default fields are “Name,” “Email,” and “Comment.” If you want to add additional fields, click “More.” It will give you the options of “Phone,” “Address,” or to create a custom question. Make sure to specify whether each is required or optional. When you’re done, click “Save and Continue.”
10. On the next screen, you will be given a preview of your new signup. If everything looks good, click “Publish,” or you can click “Safe Draft” if you need to go back and make changes.
We hope this helps you create Registration and Volunteer Signups that work well for you, your school community, and your Fair. We wish you a successful Science & Engineering Fair experience – let’s Make Science Fair Fun®!